Category Archives: Roof Inspection

Common roof inspection facts and issues

The 5 Most Common Causes for Flat Roof Leaks

Flat roofs are most commonly found during Commercial Building Inspections. These are the places we look during a flat roof building inspection.

Clearly old flat roof near Roseville MN

Clearly old flat roof near Roseville MN

  1. Poor drainage areas- if there is nowhere for rain to drain, or snow to melt,  your roof acts like a pool. Breakage and damage will occur much faster in roofs with a poor drainage plan. Not to mention the stress of the extra weight on ceiling, and attic structural components.
  2. Age of the roof-typical life span of tar and gravel, or rubber roof membranes are 50+ years. The picture shows a blistering flat roof membrane- you can also see the low drainage areas.
  3. Tears in roof membranes, or cracked tar in built up gravel roofs
  4. Junctions/seams opening up that are not repaired. Roof Maintenance is key to a long lasting flat roof.
  5. Roof penetrations and flashing should be monitored and repaired. Seasonally on older roofs, maybe every few years on flat roofs under 20 years old.


Roof Inspection ice dam

Minnesota Ice Dams On Roof Inspection

Spring is here! Almost…maybe. As temperatures warm, the ice that has built up on your roof will begin to melt. Great- (you may think), until a river of water starts draining in through the vents in your roof -then ceiling , into your light fixtures, bath fans, and walls.

MN home inspector

Gutter filled with ice image taken during an MBI home inspection

Ice dams on Minnesota roofs are worse in 2014 than they have been in years. The swing in temperatures from freezing to melting (mostly freezing….brrr) this winter has caused beautiful ice sculptures on, and around roof lines, and through holes in  gutters. Ice Dams were a common issue found in most of the roof inspections completed this year.

We did love the occasional 30+ degrees one or two days this winter, -but then by nightfall it was below zero again (which we didn’t love so much). Well those mood lifting days created shingle lifting ice on the upper layers, and lower layers of our roof.

Poor attic insulation also allows $ heat to rise through attic accesses, and  through your ceiling in general. Unintentional warming of the attic not only increases your energy bill, keeps the critters in the attic comfortable, but also is the main contributor to the formation of the ice dams. The snow on the upper roof melts and drains down to the colder lower roof-and now the snow melt freezes.

In hindsight, now we understand why raking the snow off the roof, as it falls, is an important homeowner’s  maintenance tip, No snow to melt =no ice to form dams.

Thor Anderson, a MN ice dam removal contractor ( ) said his volume of calls for service were so great that he requested the callers to “please text an address to his phone”.  If he was in the area, he’d be there as soon as possible. Within a few hours time, he had received 35 texts and addresses!

So now what? There are plenty of DIY removal tips, I don’t suggest but interesting link to Hack Methods of Ice Dam Removal – but beware of messing up your possible insurance policy pay-out. Visit Ice Dam Guys for insurance tips, and more detailed information on your second job- ice dams and home ownership.

Note: Daylight Savings time is this Sunday March 9th!


Victoria Morris

Minnesota Building and Home Inspector since 2001

MN Home Inspector is Worth the Cost

St. Paul MN home inspector. MN Building InspectionsDid you know that the average home was sold for only 94% -96% of the listed price in 2015. Obtaining a detailed home inspection will most likely provide good reasons to renegotiate the asking price. With average home sales in the 7- County Twin Cities area being about $224, 000 you may be able to save $11,200 ( 5%) on average, off the list price with your home inspection investment. To see more Minnesota Real Estate Statistics review the MN Realtors Market Update.

A common, and expensive defect found during a home inspection is an aging roof. If the shingles are severely aged, there may be existing interior water damage from roof leaks. Snow on the roof  through-out the winter in Minnesota may make it impossible to walk the roof during a winter by a MN home inspector. However, there are usually visible areas where the snow stays melted off the shingles. These areas are often found where heat is escaping through the attic or second story wall sections. (Opposed to roof areas with no heat, which will turn the melted snow into ice dams.) Yes, there is a balance needed for all of your home systems.

These visible areas allow for a general diagnostic of the roof condition, but won’t reveal the roof  in great detail. This is why it is important to get into the attic, and assess the condition of the roof penetrations and deck board during the inspection if at all possible. Re-roofing a home can cost between $5,000 and $15,000.

There are usually some electrical defects. If the home owner has remodeled without obtaining the proper permits, this can devalue the selling price. Older homes (60 years+) may warrant the need for a total re-wire. The average cost to re-wire a home is between 5% – 15% of the homes value.

The heating and cooling system almost always needs servicing. It is a wise investment for any home owner to have your furnace and A/C cleaned and serviced annually. When you have this done, make sure the technician leaves a maintenance record affixed to the HVAC system. Replacement costs range from $2,500-$8,000 for one, or both heating/cooling systems.

Landscaping and drainage issues are known to cause a great amount of costly repairs. Usually causing foundation cracking, and basement water infiltration. This can result in greatly raising a buyer’s investment cost to correct. This is a very common area of need found by a home inspector.

So in the end, if a home inspection only saves you $1000 off the asking price, then you have approximately tripled this important pre-sale investment.